Live entertainment industry to receive coronavirus fund support

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

HELENA – $10 million in coronavirus relief funds will be directed to the Live Entertainment Grant Program for long-term viability of that industry, Gov. Steve Bullock announced Aug. 12.

"Live entertainment businesses that bring together large groups of Montanans and visitors have had to cancel or postpone all of their events during the pandemic. While that effort has certainly minimized transmission of COVID-19 and kept their customers and employees safe, it has greatly impacted their revenues and outlook," Bullock said. "This funding will offer support to the hundreds of workers employed in the live entertainment industry and provide long term support to businesses to ensure they can resume offering events that are fundamental to our quality of life, as soon as it’s safe to do so."

As Montana continues making progress toward economic recovery and most sectors have reopened, live entertainment businesses across the state have remained closed due to health risks related to large gatherings or acts that have postponed touring.

To ensure entertainment businesses can survive extended closures and postponement, the Live Entertainment Grant Program will provide up to 25 percent of a business’ 2019 gross revenue or a maximum of $1 million per applicant. The program is available to Montana based businesses and non-profits in the live entertainment business, and whose revenues primarily come from live entertainment events. Applicants must have derived at least 33 percent of their 2019 revenue from sale of tickets for live events and must be operating at less than 10 percent of last years’ revenue.

Bars, restaurants, and other facilities whose primary business is anything other than live entertainment are not eligible. Applications will be evaluated on a first come first serve basis and opened Aug. 12 at covidrelief.mt.gov.

Bullock also announced he is doubling the funds available in the Business Stabilization Grant Program to provide working capital for small businesses that have seen their revenue decline as a result of the pandemic. Nearly 8,000 businesses that have already been awarded a Business Stabilization Grant are eligible to receive a second payment equal to the first, and new applicants as well as applications in progress are now eligible to receive up to six months of working capital or $20,000, whichever is less. Businesses eligible to receive a second grant will be contacted by the Montana Department of Commerce via email and should not submit a second application.

Additionally, Bullock announced a grant program for businesses located along the east edge of Glacier National Park, which have been uniquely hit hard by the pandemic due to ongoing closures on that side of the park. Many businesses are entirely dependent on visitation to keep their operations running throughout the year. Supporting them now will ensure they can sustain their operations for next year’s tourism season.

Tourism-reliant businesses in the East edge of Glacier National Park may be eligible to apply for a grant for up to 25 percent of their 2019 gross revenue, or up to $40,000. To be eligible, businesses must be located along the eastern edge of Glacier National Park in the immediate vicinity of East Glacier, St. Mary or Babb and must be Montana-based. The application is available on covidrelief.mt.gov.

Bullock has allocated nearly 80 percent of the CARES Act dollars, with over $210 million of that awarded to help Montanans, small businesses, nonprofits, farmers and ranchers, schools and local governments and more toward economic recovery. A transparency dashboard of awarded funds and a list of all allocated dollars is available at covidrelief.mt.gov.